Political Mojo | Mother Jones http://www.motherjones.com/Blogs/2014/03 http://www.motherjones.com/files/motherjonesLogo_google_206X40.png Mother Jones logo http://www.motherjones.com en Indiana Pizzeria Says It Will Deny Service to LGBT People http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/04/indiana-pizzeria-gay-couples <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Catering pizza to your wedding guests might sound unconventional, but <a href="https://www.pinterest.com/explore/pizza-wedding/" target="_blank">it does happen</a>. Oh, <em><a href="https://www.google.com/search?q=pizza+wedding&amp;safe=off&amp;tbm=isch&amp;tbo=u&amp;source=univ&amp;sa=X&amp;ei=QvobVaflB8meggSH-4LYCw&amp;ved=0CB4QsAQ&amp;biw=1268&amp;bih=643" target="_blank">does it happen</a></em>.</p> <p>But if you're gay and in Indiana, don't call Memories Pizzeria in Walkerton: They won't help you make your wedding memories. The owners of the family-run business say it will refuse to serve slices to gay or lesbian weddings, joining a <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2015/03/31/us/indiana-religious-freedom-discrimination-opinions/" target="_blank">chorus</a> of those who cite opposition to marriage equality in support of their state's controversial Religious Freedom Restoration Act.</p> <p>Crystal O'Connor, who runs the business, <a href="http://www.abc57.com/story/28681598/rfra-first-business-to-publicly-deny-same-sex-service" target="_blank">told local news outlet ABC57,</a> "If a gay couple came in and wanted us to provide pizzas for their wedding, we would have to say no," because it was not reflective of their Christian values.</p> <p>In doing so, O'Connor insisted such a move would not be an act of discrimination, as many <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/03/indiana-backlash-pence-religious-freedom-lgbt" target="_blank">critics </a>of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act have argued. "I do not think it's targeting gays," she said. "I don't think it's discrimination. It's supposed to help people that have a religious belief."</p> <p>O'Connor's father, Kevin, also appeared in ABC's report telling the reporter being gay is a choice. "Why should I be beat over the head to go along with something they choose?"</p> <p>Gov. Mike Pence of Indiana claims that <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/03/indiana-is-like-barely-a-state-anyway-amirite" target="_blank">outrage</a> over the new law, which was passed last Thursday, is the product of "mischaracterization," and that the law's intent was simply to protect religious liberties. Yesterday, he <a href="http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/indianas-pence-looks-fix-blames-obamacare" target="_blank">acknowledged</a> the mounting criticism and said he would be seeking a "legislative fix" to the law.</p> <p>Despite the national backlash to Indiana's law, Arkansas followed suit yesterday by passing its own <a href="http://bit.ly/1IjUkFo" target="_blank">religious freedom bill. </a></p> <script type="text/javascript" src="http://WBND.images.worldnow.com/interface/js/WNVideo.js?rnd=886171;hostDomain=www.abc57.com;playerWidth=630;playerHeight=355;isShowIcon=true;clipId=11319394;flvUri=;partnerclipid=;adTag=News;advertisingZone=;enableAds=true;landingPage=;islandingPageoverride=false;playerType=STANDARD_EMBEDDEDscript;controlsType=overlay"></script><p><a href="http://www.abc57.com" title="ABC57 News - See the Difference Michiana">ABC57 News - See the Difference Michiana</a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Civil Liberties Gay Rights Wed, 01 Apr 2015 14:23:57 +0000 Inae Oh 272756 at http://www.motherjones.com Walmart Gave Workers a Raise—But It's Not Enough to Keep Them off the Dole http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/04/walmart-workers-raise-not-enough-public-assistance <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>A typical Walmart Supercenter costs taxpayers more than $900,000 a year in public assistance doled out to its low-wage workers. This fact, published in a congressional <a href="http://democrats.edworkforce.house.gov/sites/democrats.edworkforce.house.gov/files/documents/WalMartReport-May2013.pdf" target="_blank">report in 2013</a>, galvanized labor protests at Walmart stores across the country last year, leading the the retail giant to announce in February that would give some 500,000 workers a raise. And that's something. But according to a report <a href="http://www.americansfortaxfairness.org/files/Taxpayers-and-Walmart-ATF.pdf" target="_blank">released today</a> by Americans for Tax Fairness, Walmart's pay is still far too low to wean many "associates" from federal subsidies such as food stamps and Section 8 housing.</p> <p>Under Walmart's new plan, full-time associates who've completed a six-month training program will earn at least $10 an hour next year. Many Walmart workers, however, are <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/02/fired-retaliation-strike-walmart-black-friday" target="_blank">involuntary part-timers</a>, and nearly half of the associates turn over each year. But workers who qualify for the $10 base wage by working at least 34 hours a week, which Walmart considers "full time," would still earn only $17,680 a year&mdash;well below the cutoff for many federal assistance programs, especially if a worker has children.</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/walmart-tableWEB.gif"><div class="caption">Americans for Tax Fairness</div> </div> <p>The four Walton heirs, who are collectively worth <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/10/walmart-walton-heirs-net-worth-cities" target="_blank">$144.7 billion</a>, are Walmart's largest stockholders and constitute the nation's wealthiest family. If they wanted to stop enriching themselves at the expense of taxpayers, they could pay their workers at least $15 an hour for a 40-hour workweek. According to Americans for Tax Fairness, this would have cost Walmart about $10.8 billion in 2014, or about half of the increase in the Waltons' net worth that year.</p></body></html> MoJo Charts Corporations Income Inequality Labor Top Stories Walmart Wed, 01 Apr 2015 10:20:06 +0000 Josh Harkinson 272736 at http://www.motherjones.com America Ranks in the Top 5 Globally—for Putting Its Citizens to Death http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/us-ranks-top-5-executions-amnesty-international <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>We're No. 5! We're No. 5!</p> <p>America once again ranks among the top five nations in the world&mdash;in executions. Sigh. That's according to a new report from Amnesty International, which also notes that more and more nations have been opting not to kill their convicts.</p> <p>Amnesty tallies at least 607 known executions in 22 countries in 2014. The good news? That's a 22 percent decline from 2013. Here at home, states dispatched 35 American citizens last year, a <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/12/death-penalty-executions-lowest-decades" target="_blank">20-year low</a>&mdash;and four less than in 2013. But there's no accounting for China, which executes more people than all other countries combined but treats the data as a state secret. (Amnesty made its count by looking at a range of sources, including official figures, reports from civil society groups, media accounts, and information from death row convicts and their families.)</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="480" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="//mjdwcharts.s3.amazonaws.com/3Ta3K/3/index.html" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p>Amnesty also reports a drop in the number of countries that carried out executions, from 42 in 1995 to 22 last year, although many more still have the death penalty on the books. The United States is the last country in the Americas that still puts people to death, but US citizens appear to be <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/12/death-penalty-executions-lowest-decades" target="_blank">increasingly opposed</a> to the practice. Only seven states executed convicts in 2014, compared with nine states a year earlier. The overwhelming majority of those executions&mdash;nearly 90 percent&mdash;took place in four states: Texas, Missouri, Florida and Oklahoma. (<a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/04/alcoholic-lawyer-botched-robert-wayne-holsey-death-penalty-trial" target="_blank">Georgia</a> had two, and Arizona and Ohio had one execution each.)</p> <p>Eighteen states have abolished the death penalty, but among those that have not, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, New Hampshire, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Wyoming haven't put anyone to death in at least a decade, Amnesty noted. Oregon and Washington have moratoriums on executions, and federal authorities have not put anyone to death since 2003.</p> <p>The bad news is, from 2013 to 2014, the number of death <em>sentences</em> jumped nearly 30 percent globally, to at least 2,466. Amnesty points in part to Nigeria, which imposed 659 death sentences last year as military courts punished numerous soldiers for mutiny and other offenses amid armed conflict with Boko Haram militants. Egypt was also to blame for the increase, Amnesty said, as Egyptian courts handed down death sentences against 210 Muslim Brotherhood supporters in April and June.</p> <p>In all, 55 countries sentenced people to death last year. Here, according to Amnesty, are the most notable:</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="400" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="//mjdwcharts.s3.amazonaws.com/BXpwj/1/index.html" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="100%"></iframe></p></body></html> MoJo Charts Crime and Justice Human Rights International Top Stories Capital Punishment Tue, 31 Mar 2015 23:00:09 +0000 Samantha Michaels 272621 at http://www.motherjones.com Arkansas Just Passed Its Own Indiana-Style 'Religious Freedom Restoration Act' http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/arkansas-rfra-indiana-lgbt-discrimination <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Despite <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/03/indiana-backlash-pence-religious-freedom-lgbt" target="_blank">national outcry</a> over a <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/03/indiana-gov-mike-pence-signs-gay-discrimination-bill" target="_blank">similar bill</a> in Indiana, the Arkansas state Legislature on Tuesday passed its own 'Religious Freedom Restoration Act' which critics warn would allow business owners to discriminate against gay, lesbian, and transgendered people on religious grounds.&nbsp;</p> <p>The bill now goes to Republican state&nbsp;Gov. Asa Hutchinson who<a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/dominicholden/religious-freedom-bill-heads-to-arkansas-governors-desk-amid#.gfRWzAxrX" target="_blank"> vowed last week to sign it.</a> Attempts by state lawmakers to add a provision that would prevent discrimination against gays and lesbians were blocked, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/01/us/governor-mike-pence-defends-indiana-religious-freedom-restoration-act.html?module=Notification&amp;version=BreakingNews&amp;region=FixedTop&amp;action=Click&amp;contentCollection=BreakingNews&amp;contentID=31846900&amp;pgtype=Blogs&amp;gwh=768CF5DAD684F4998A9992A4D9DC275F&amp;gwt=pay&amp;assetType=nyt_now&amp;_r=0" target="_blank">according to <em>the New York Times.</em></a></p> <p>"The Arkansas and Indiana bills are virtually identical in terms of language and intent," Human Rights Campaign legal director Sarah Warbelow <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/31/arkansas-religious-freedom_n_6979166.html?utm_hp_ref=tw" target="_blank">told<em> the Huffington Post</em></a>. "They place LGBT people, people of color, religious minorities, women and many more people at risk of discrimination."</p> <p>Like Indiana, Arkansas is already facing mounting criticism over the bill. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/02/25/walmart-lgbt-discrimination-proposal_n_6751626.html?utm_hp_ref=tw" target="_blank">Walmart</a>, which is based in Bentonville, and data-services company&nbsp;<a href="http://thinkprogress.org/lgbt/2015/03/31/3641057/arkansas-rfra-hutchinson/" target="_blank">Acxiom</a> have openly criticized the bill.&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Civil Liberties Tue, 31 Mar 2015 21:46:31 +0000 Edwin Rios 272716 at http://www.motherjones.com Backer of Indiana Law Says "It's Impossible to Satisfy the Homosexual Lobby" http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/bryan-fischer-indiana-law <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Considering it seems like everyone from <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/03/indiana-backlash-pence-religious-freedom-lgbt" target="_blank">Tim Cook</a> to the whole state of Connecticut is incensed by a <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/03/indiana-gov-mike-pence-signs-gay-discrimination-bill" target="_blank">new law</a> that allows Indiana businesses to refuse service to LGBT customers based on "religious grounds," it seems crazy to think anyone is still out there actually defending it&mdash;at least openly. Alas, here's Bryan Fischer of "<a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2010/09/bryan-fischer-values-voter-summit" target="_blank">gay sex is terrorism"</a> notoriety and head of the American Family Association, to prove otherwise:</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>The pressure Big Gay has put on Indiana is proof they are not about "marriage equality" but "homosexual supremacy."</p>&mdash; Bryan Fischer (@BryanJFischer) <a href="https://twitter.com/BryanJFischer/status/582943799577612288">March 31, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>Indiana will soon find it is impossible to satisfy the homosexual lobby. They will immediately be back for more. And more.</p> &mdash; Bryan Fischer (@BryanJFischer) <a href="https://twitter.com/BryanJFischer/status/582952611298566144">March 31, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>Indiana to Christian wedding vendors: in any conflict between you and Big Gay, we're coming down on the side of Big Gay.</p> &mdash; Bryan Fischer (@BryanJFischer) <a href="https://twitter.com/BryanJFischer/status/582959103762370561">March 31, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>Gov. Mike Pence may now be trying to <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/31/indiana-religious-freedom_n_6977170.html" target="_blank">play down</a> criticism the law discriminates against gay people, support from people like Fischer make it difficult to make such an argument.<br> &nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Gay Rights Religion Tue, 31 Mar 2015 20:16:12 +0000 Inae Oh 272701 at http://www.motherjones.com James O'Keefe Loses Libel Suit Over Landrieu Incident http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/james-okeefe-loses-libel-suit <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Conservative filmmaker and provocateur James O'Keefe has lost another legal battle: on Monday, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/documents/1698711-wdc-media-opinion" target="_blank">a federal court in New Jersey dismissed a libel suit</a> O'Keefe filed against legal news website <em>MainJustice</em>. In August 2013, <em>MainJustice</em> published an article referring to a 2010 incident in which O'Keefe and his associates posed as telephone technicians to gain access to the offices of then&ndash;Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.). O'Keefe and three others <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/27/us/politics/27landrieu.html?_r=0" target="_blank">ultimately pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge</a> of entering federal property under false pretenses.</p> <p>In its original article, <em>MainJustice</em> said that O'Keefe was "apparently trying to bug" Landrieu's offices. After O'Keefe complained, the website changed the sentence to read that O'Keefe and his associates "were trying to tamper with Landrieu's phones." Still, O'Keefe sued, alleging that both characterizations were defamatory because they implied he had committed a felony. <em>MainJustice </em>countered that the language wasn't defamatory because the substance of the article was true, and the site accurately described the legal proceedings triggered by the episode.</p> <p>The court didn't find O'Keefe's case convincing. Judge Claire Cecchi wrote in her opinion:</p> <blockquote> <p>Regardless of whether the article used the words "apparently trying to bug" or "trying to tamper," the few words challenged by the Plaintiff, taken in context, do not alter the fundamental gist of the paragraph&hellip; Therefore, the words "trying to tamper with," understood in the colloquial sense, convey the substantial truth of the Landrieu incident and do not alter the ultimate conclusion of the paragraph&mdash;that Plaintiff was guilty of a misdemeanor.</p> </blockquote> <p>Mary Jacoby, editor-in-chief of <em>MainJustice</em>, writes in a statement:</p> <blockquote> <p>This is an important First Amendment victory. It's a total, resounding defeat of O'Keefe's attempts to intimidate journalists into accepting his spin on the circumstances of his 2010 entry into Sen. Landrieu's offices under false pretenses.</p> </blockquote> <p>In 2013, <a href="http://www.prwatch.org/news/2013/03/12019/james-o%E2%80%99keefe-pays-100k-settlement-after-deceiving-public-about-acorn-alec%E2%80%99s-help" target="_blank">O'Keefe paid $100,000 to settle a lawsuit</a> filed against him by a former employee of ACORN, a nonprofit the filmmaker had targeted. In a statement to <em>Mother Jones, </em>an O'Keefe spokesman said, "While we are disappointed in the Court's decision, it is one that we respect due to the complex and difficult nature of proving defamation. That being said, we think it is important to note that this decision in no way validates any of the false statements made against Project Veritas or James O'Keefe."</p></body></html> MoJo Media Tue, 31 Mar 2015 19:58:05 +0000 Sam Brodey 272681 at http://www.motherjones.com Forget Elizabeth Warren. Another Female Senator Has a Shot to Fill the Senate's New Power Vacuum. http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/patty-murray-harry-reid-senate-majority-leader <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><em><strong>Update (3/30/15)</strong>&mdash;So much for that. On Monday, Murray <a href="http://blogs.rollcall.com/wgdb/patty-murray-backs-schumer-for-leader/" target="_blank">endorsed</a> Schumer, who now appears to have a clear path to Reid's job.</em></p> <p>In the nanoseconds after Democratic Senate leader Harry Reid <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/harry-reid-announces-his-retirement" target="_blank">announced</a> Friday morning that he will give up his leadership post and retire in 2016, liberal groups raced to <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2015/03/27/morning-plum-liberal-groups-float-elizabeth-warren-for-dem-senate-leader/" target="_blank">promote</a> their go-to solution for almost any political problem: Sen. Elizabeth Warren. Much like the movement to draft Warren for president, the idea of putting her in charge of the Democratic caucus was more dream than reality. Warren's office has already <a href="http://blogs.rollcall.com/wgdb/harry-reid-successors-murray-schumer-durbin/" target="_blank">said</a> she won't run, and as <em>Vox</em>'s Dylan Matthews <a href="http://www.vox.com/2015/3/27/8300441/elizabeth-warren-senate-leader" target="_blank">explains</a>, putting Warren in charge of the Democratic caucus would prevent her from holding her colleagues accountable when they stray too far from progressive ideals.</p> <p>Instead, Reid's likely replacement is New York Sen. Chuck Schumer, who already has endorsements from Reid and&nbsp;<a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2015/03/27/durbin-endorses-chuck-schumer-for-senate-leader-easing-path-for-new-yorker-to-succeed-reid/" target="_blank">Dick Durbin</a>, the outgoing minority leader's No. 2. But lefties have long been wary of Schumer, who, thanks to his home base in New York City, is far more sympathetic to Wall Street than the rest of his caucus. And lost in the Warren hype is another female senator: Washington's Patty Murray.</p> <p>As caucus secretary, Murray is the fourth-ranking member of Senate Democratic leadership, behind Reid, Durbin, and Schumer. If she decides to take on Schumer for Reid's job, Murray could be the first woman to serve as a party leader in the US Senate. Murray's office didn't respond to a request for comment on whether she'd run for the job and, besides a general <a href="http://www.murray.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/newsreleases?ID=2e8573fe-0cf2-419d-b777-7c8102319171" target="_blank">statement</a> praising Reid, was notably quiet on Friday.</p> <p>In 2013, I cowrote a <a href="http://prospect.org/article/patty-murray-19-takes" target="_blank">profile of Murray for <em>The American Prospect</em></a> looking at her role in leading Democrats' negotiations with Republicans on the budget, and explained how she's a pragmatic progressive who will push for the most liberal policies she can pass while still being willing to forge compromise with the centrists in her party:</p> <blockquote> <p>There's something peculiarly undefined about Murray's ideology. She's a liberal, a West Coast liberal to be precise: strong on social issues, the environment, workers' rights, and the government's role in society. She hews closely to the Democratic talking points of the day. But it's hard to discern a coherent vision or theory behind her views. She is as far left as you can go without alienating the centrists in the party. More than anything, she's a pragmatist. Success trumps belief in the "right" things. At the same time, Murray doesn't venerate moderation for its own sake&mdash;she's no Rahm Emanuel. "She's a strong progressive," says a former Budget Committee staff member, "but she won't tilt at windmills, she won't force a vote on something she knows she's not going to win."</p> </blockquote> <p>Murray certainly has the r&eacute;sum&eacute; to compete for the job. She led the Democrats' campaign arm in 2012, when the party picked up two Senate seats, defying pundits' predictions. She <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/12/budget-deal-is-not-compromise-murray-ryan" target="_blank">forged a budget agreement</a> with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) in 2013 that averted across-the-board budget cuts. Murray is generally press-shy&mdash;she flies home across the country each weekend instead of doing the Sunday show circuit&mdash;which would leave room for other Senate stars, including Warren, to be the party's public face while Murray controls the behind-the-scenes negotiations. But as that budget committee staffer told me in 2013, Murray isn't known for picking fights she can't win. If she runs against Schumer, it'll be because she thinks she has a real shot at Reid's post.</p></body></html> MoJo Congress Top Stories Fri, 27 Mar 2015 19:58:21 +0000 Patrick Caldwell 272506 at http://www.motherjones.com Harry Reid Announces His Retirement http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/harry-reid-announces-his-retirement <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><strong>Update, 12:26 p.m.:</strong> Shortly after announcing his retirement, Reid <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2015/03/27/harry-reid-endorses-chuck-schumer-to-succeed-him-as-senate-minority-leader/" target="_blank">endorsed</a> Sen. Chuck&nbsp;Schumer (D-N.Y.) to replace him. "I think Schumer should be able to succeed me,&rdquo; he told the <em>Washington Post</em> in an interview at his DC residence.&nbsp;</p> <p>Senate Minority&nbsp;Leader Harry Reid <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/28/us/politics/senator-harry-reid-retire.html?smid=tw-bna" target="_blank">announced on Friday </a>he will not be seeking reelection when his term comes to an end next year. He announced his retirement in a YouTube video:</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>My life&rsquo;s work has been to make Nevada and our nation better. Thank you for giving me that wonderful opportunity. <a href="https://t.co/dwy2rDWYhO">https://t.co/dwy2rDWYhO</a></p> &mdash; Senator Harry Reid (@SenatorReid) <a href="https://twitter.com/SenatorReid/status/581422891285245952">March 27, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <p>The decision to retire, the 75-year-old senator from Nevada said, "has absolutely nothing to do" with the injury he sustained back in January from an exercising accident or his new role as minority leader following the Democrats' loss during the midterm elections. In an interview with the <em>New York Times</em> <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/28/us/politics/senator-harry-reid-retire.html?smid=tw-bna" target="_blank">he explained</a>, "I want to be able to go out at the top of my game. I don&rsquo;t want to be a 42-year-old trying to become a designated hitter."</p> <p>In the video, Reid continues with a message to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, "Don't be too elated. I'm going to be here for 22 more months, and you know what I'm going to be doing? The same thing I've done since I first came to the Senate. We have to make sure the Democrats take control of the Senate again."</p> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Video Congress Elections Fri, 27 Mar 2015 12:21:47 +0000 Inae Oh 272486 at http://www.motherjones.com This Lawmaker Publicly Discussed Her Rape and Abortion. And Some Dude Laughed. http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/ohio-abortion-heartbeat-bill <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>While speaking out against a proposed bill in Ohio that aims to ban abortions once a fetal heartbeat is detected, Rep. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo) revealed on Wednesday she had been raped during her time in the military and chose to have an abortion.</p> <p>"You don't respect my reason, my rape, my abortion, and I guarantee you there are other women who should stand up with me and be courageous enough to speak that voice," <a href="http://www.toledoblade.com/State/2015/03/25/Ohio-House-votes-across-party-lines-for-heartbeat-abortion-bill.html" target="_blank">Fedor said before the state senate.</a> "What you're doing is so fundamentally inhuman, unconstitutional, and I've sat here too long."</p> <p>Her testimony comes just weeks after an <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/arizona-lawmaker-abortion-molested" target="_blank">Arizona lawmaker</a> shared details about her own abortion, which she had after being sexually assaulted by a male relative when she was a young girl. In a later editorial for <a href="http://www.cosmopolitan.com/politics/interviews/a37718/victoria-steele-sexual-assault-arizona/" target="_blank"><em>Cosmopolitan</em></a>, Rep. Victoria Steele said that while she was glad to have spoken out and share her story during the legislative debate, she resented the fact that "women have to tell their deepest, darkest traumas in public" in order for lawmakers to grasp how dangerous such anti-abortion bills were to women and their health.</p> <p>In Fedor's case, not only did she feel she had to share her trauma with her colleagues, at one point she was forced to pause and address the fact a man appeared to be laughing at her while she spoke.</p> <p>"I see people laughing and I don't appreciate that," she said. "And it happens to be a man who is laughing. But this is serious business right now and I'm speaking for all the women in the state of Ohio who didn't get the opportunity to be in front of that committee and make this statement."</p> <p>Ohio's House Bill 69 eventually <a href="http://www.cleveland.com/open/index.ssf/2015/03/ohio_house_approves_heartbeat.html" target="_blank">passed </a>with a 55-40 vote. The legislation now goes to the senate, and if passed, will make it a fifth-degree felony and result in up to $2,500 and possible jail time for doctors who perform the abortions.</p> <object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=9,0,47,0" height='354""' id="flashObj" width="630"><param name="movie" value="http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1&amp;isUI=1"><param name="bgcolor" value="#FFFFFF"><param name="flashVars" value="videoId=4134552171001&amp;playerID=1148472331001&amp;playerKey=AQ~~,AAABCveqeEk~,BRLBX-1yBlngZ35whr_dStkPV5pOiI5Q&amp;domain=embed&amp;dynamicStreaming=true"><param name="base" value="http://admin.brightcove.com"><param name="seamlesstabbing" value="false"><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"><param name="swLiveConnect" value="true"><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"><embed allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" base="http://admin.brightcove.com" bgcolor="#FFFFFF" flashvars="videoId=4134552171001&amp;playerID=1148472331001&amp;playerKey=AQ~~,AAABCveqeEk~,BRLBX-1yBlngZ35whr_dStkPV5pOiI5Q&amp;domain=embed&amp;dynamicStreaming=true" height='354""' name="flashObj" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/shockwave/download/index.cgi?P1_Prod_Version=ShockwaveFlash" seamlesstabbing="false" src="http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1&amp;isUI=1" swliveconnect="true" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="630"></embed></object></body></html> MoJo Video Reproductive Rights Sex and Gender Thu, 26 Mar 2015 20:42:45 +0000 Inae Oh 272451 at http://www.motherjones.com Wondering What Happens in the Cockpit of a Crashing Plane? Read This Story. http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/wondering-what-happens-cockpit-plane-crash-read-story <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>An international airliner falls out of the sky, seemingly for no reason. A cryptic recording from the cockpit voice recorder. The crash of Germanwings flight 9525 on Tuesday has, at least in the early going, left investigators with a lot of puzzling questions. It's also drawn obvious parallels to an earlier incident&mdash;the 1999 crash of EgyptAir 990 off the coast of Massachusetts.</p> <p>That crash, which killed 217 people, was ultimately chalked up to "<span class="st">manipulation of the airplane controls,</span>" according to the National Transporation Safety Board. But that euphemism left a lot unsaid. In <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2001/11/the-crash-of-egyptair-990/302332/" target="_blank">a masterful piece in the <em>Atlantic</em> in 2001</a>, reporter William Langewiesche sought to piece together the mystery of what actually happened:</p> <blockquote> <p>I remember first hearing about the accident early in the morning after the airplane went down. It was October 31, 1999, Halloween morning. I was in my office when a fellow pilot, a former flying companion, phoned with the news: It was EgyptAir Flight 990, a giant twin-engine Boeing 767 on the way from New York to Cairo, with 217 people aboard. It had taken off from Kennedy Airport in the middle of the night, climbed to 33,000 feet, and flown normally for half an hour before mysteriously plummeting into the Atlantic Ocean sixty miles south of Nantucket. Rumor had it that the crew had said nothing to air-traffic control, that the flight had simply dropped off the New York radar screens. Soon afterward an outbound Air France flight had swung over the area, and had reported no fires in sight&mdash;only a dim and empty ocean far below. It was remotely possible that Flight 990 was still in the air somewhere, diverting toward a safe landing. But sometime around daybreak a Merchant Marine training ship spotted debris floating on the waves&mdash;aluminum scraps, cushions and clothing, some human remains. The midshipmen on board gagged from the stench of jet fuel&mdash;a planeload of unburned kerosene rising from shattered tanks on the ocean floor, about 250 feet below. By the time rescue ships and helicopters arrived, it was obvious that there would be no survivors. I remember reacting to the news with regret for the dead, followed by a thought for the complexity of the investigation that now lay ahead. This accident had the markings of a tough case. The problem was not so much the scale of the carnage&mdash;a terrible consequence of the 767's size&mdash;but, rather, the still-sketchy profile of the upset that preceded it, this bewildering fall out of the sky on a calm night, without explanation, during an utterly uncritical phase of the flight.</p> </blockquote> <p>Read the entire piece <a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2001/11/the-crash-of-egyptair-990/302332/" target="_blank">here</a>.</p></body></html> MoJo International Thu, 26 Mar 2015 17:52:52 +0000 Tim Murphy 272441 at http://www.motherjones.com "Everything Could Be Taken Away From Me": Watch This Woman Bravely Fight an Anti-Transgender Bill http://www.motherjones.com/mixed-media/2015/03/florida-transgender-bathroom-cindy-sullivan <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>As Florida lawmakers continue to consider a bill aiming to make it a criminal act for <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/03/transgender-bathroom-discrimination-bills" target="_blank">transgender people</a> to use the bathroom of their choice, we'd like to direct your attention to Cindy Sullivan, who spoke out against the bill in incredibly brave and <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/posttv/national/transgender-woman-makes-tearful-testimony-in-fla/2015/03/06/bb2f14f8-c42b-11e4-a188-8e4971d37a8d_video.html%20James%20West%20%5B3:41%20PM%5D" target="_blank">emotional testimony</a> earlier this month.</p> <p>"I see this bill as effecting not just my business but my partner's business," Sullivan said. "If I go to use the restroom, everybody in that restroom has the ability to sue me and my family, affect my child, affect my reputation. Everything could be taken away from me."</p> <p>"You could put me in jail for being me!"</p> <p>As her tears well, Sullivan repeatedly looks behind her shoulder, as the bill's sponsor, state representative Frank Artiles watches on.</p> <p>House Bill 583 has already been approved by <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/society/2015/mar/24/papers-to-pee-texas-kentucky-and-florida-consider-anti-transgender-bills" target="_blank">two subcommittees</a> and is expected to be reviewed by the house judiciary committee later this week. In Kentucky and Texas, lawmakers are attempting to pass similar anti-transgender legislation. All three states have the support and financial backing of the Alliance Defending Freedom, an influential conservative group.</p> <p>Sullivan, who began her testimony noting she too was a Republican, slammed the bill as "government intrusion at its worst."</p> <p>"I'm a throw-away piece of trash, in this country of freedom, and liberty, and respect."</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="400" mozallowfullscreen="" scrolling="no" src="http://www.washingtonpost.com/posttv/c/embed/bb2f14f8-c42b-11e4-a188-8e4971d37a8d" webkitallowfullscreen="" width="640"></iframe></p> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Video Civil Liberties Gay Rights Sex and Gender Wed, 25 Mar 2015 23:37:48 +0000 Inae Oh 272391 at http://www.motherjones.com Ted Cruz Expected to Headline Event With a Man Who Compared Muslims to Nazis http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/ted-cruz-GOP-presidential-candidate-robert-spencer-jihad-watch <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who announced his candidacy for President on Monday via Twitter, is expected to speak <a href="http://www.yaf.org/eventdetails.aspx?id=13203" target="_blank">at</a> the Young America's Foundation's "New England Freedom Conference" in Nashua, New Hampshire on Friday.</p> <p>Also on the lineup is Robert Spencer, the co-founder of Stop Islamization of America and director of the Jihad Watch blog. He is notorious for his attacks on Islam. "It's absurd" to think that "Islam is a religion of peace that's been hijacked by &hellip; extremists," he <a href="http://mediamatters.org/video/2010/02/22/jihad-watchs-spencer-its-absurd-to-think-that-i/160747">said</a> at the Conservative Political Action Conference in February. He has <a href="http://www.loonwatch.com/2012/03/terrorist-inspirer-robert-spencer-compares-muslims-to-nazis-says-muslims-cant-be-trusted/">compared Muslims to Nazis</a> and <a href="http://www.loonwatch.com/2012/03/robert-spencer-muslim-appointees-deserve-special-loyalty-test-video/">demanded</a> that Muslims take a loyalty test before being appointed to public office in America. He has told reporters that Islam is <a href="http://www.loonwatch.com/2009/09/fathima-rifqa-bary-update-no-abuse-found/">here to take over America</a>, and that President Barack Obama is <a href="http://www.loonwatch.com/2010/05/robert-spencer-watch-obama-may-be-a-mooslim/">secretly</a> a Muslim. His book opens with the rallying cry of the Crusades, "God wills it!" and he calls for a second crusade <a href="http://www.loonwatch.com/2010/05/do-muslims-want-to-reimpose-dhimmitude-or-live-as-equals/#tagcloud">against Islam</a>.</p> <p>The conference, to be hosted at the Radisson in southeast New Hampshire, <a href="http://www.yaf.org/eventdetails.aspx?id=13203">bills itself</a> as a conservative gathering on "why big government policies are a big problem" and "ways to effectively push back against leftist, big government threats to your freedoms." It's hosted by the Young America's Foundation, which has previously been linked to extremists. Young Americans for Freedom, which merged with the Young America's Foundation in 2011, hosted an event <a href="http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?f=001c1cZksnKo9TRcqsmnQl8MW08hszIRDbRg4L3-93lle6VQA4hHmBNLekPoxkDKCAZBFop_au46I2MgdcWv-xHhUlvcifmbI9-WXRVbHrKC7hOw0Hy2vXUifD88BZaKuDZcM9zFI3BlzzRctNa_pbm5HwqoUzo5RPeOqNtec7cTnpofuw6UUsxR3he92fj2LuhLZO8EIXyU3nwnZRwfWrUagcTwM9exaVRAQrS_Gd6Y8wEMAVlt0Vgb6lXpD78QRG-rwFTbRjyQa7E_v5VhNkDQTnluqCyHSR6Vpb0jbPF_c4=&amp;c=Zu7GojTVYR9YouYv6xSy5D6xOxmBbnT0F36MDp72l4whWxV-Zuq8ng==&amp;ch=XOHfV-PSFGpE46WmBTPruvS-IhCvyTJlGonEawVFCbJFqboDIPTOow==">in 2007</a> in which Nick Griffin&mdash; who was the chairman of the British National Party, a white supremacist group, and a Holocaust denier&mdash;spoke. Two board members of Young America's Foundation, Ron Robinson and James B. Taylor, <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2013/01/ron-robinson-james-b-taylor-young-americas-foundation-white-nationalists">also ran</a> a political action committee that donated thousands of dollars to a white nationalist organization, the Charles Martel Society.</p> <p>The Council on American Islamic Relations criticized Cruz for agreeing to speak at a conference that is providing a platform to Spencer. "If Senator Cruz believes that he can campaign for president while sharing center stage with a professional hate monger like Robert Spencer, I seriously doubt his ability to win the US minority vote or unite the country as president," said CAIR Government Affairs Manager Robert McCaw.</p> <p>"Senator Cruz has been invited to speak to Young America's Foundation," says Rick Tyler, a spokesperson for Cruz's campaign. "He intends to keep that commitment."</p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Religion Ted Cruz The Right Top Stories Wed, 25 Mar 2015 18:36:13 +0000 Jenna McLaughlin 272366 at http://www.motherjones.com Everything Changed on 9/11, Starting With Ted Cruz's Musical Taste http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/why-ted-cruz-hates-rock-music <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><object classid="clsid:D27CDB6E-AE6D-11cf-96B8-444553540000" codebase="http://download.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=9,0,47,0" height="270" id="flashObj" width="480"><param name="movie" value="http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1&amp;isUI=1"><param name="bgcolor" value="#FFFFFF"><param name="flashVars" value="videoId=4131746112001&amp;linkBaseURL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.slate.com%2Fblogs%2Fthe_slatest%2F2015%2F03%2F24%2Fted_cruz_country_music_9_11_pandering_video.html&amp;playerID=58264559001&amp;playerKey=AQ~~,AAAAAASoY90~,_gW1ZHvKG_0UvBsh7aZU7MXZe77OcsGq&amp;domain=embed&amp;dynamicStreaming=true"><param name="base" value="http://admin.brightcove.com"><param name="seamlesstabbing" value="false"><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"><param name="swLiveConnect" value="true"><param name="allowScriptAccess" value="always"><embed allowfullscreen="true" allowscriptaccess="always" base="http://admin.brightcove.com" bgcolor="#FFFFFF" flashvars="videoId=4131746112001&amp;linkBaseURL=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.slate.com%2Fblogs%2Fthe_slatest%2F2015%2F03%2F24%2Fted_cruz_country_music_9_11_pandering_video.html&amp;playerID=58264559001&amp;playerKey=AQ~~,AAAAAASoY90~,_gW1ZHvKG_0UvBsh7aZU7MXZe77OcsGq&amp;domain=embed&amp;dynamicStreaming=true" height="270" name="flashObj" pluginspage="http://www.macromedia.com/shockwave/download/index.cgi?P1_Prod_Version=ShockwaveFlash" seamlesstabbing="false" src="http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1&amp;isUI=1" swliveconnect="true" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="480"></embed></object> <p>During a segment of <a href="http://www.cbsnews.com/videos/ted-cruz-my-music-tastes-changed-on-911/" target="_blank">CBS's <em>This Morning</em> show</a>, Senator Ted Cruz attempted to explain how the attacks on September 11&nbsp;moved him to shun the soulless genre of rock music and pick up country:</p> <blockquote> <p>You know, music is interesting. I grew up listening to classic rock and I&rsquo;ll tell you sort of an odd story. My music tastes changed on 9/11. And it&rsquo;s a very strange&mdash;I actually, intellectually, find this very curious, but on 9/11, I didn&rsquo;t like how rock music responded. And country music collectively, the way they responded, it resonated with me and I have to say, it&mdash;just as a gut level, I had an emotional reaction that says, &ldquo;These are my people.&rdquo; And so ever since 2001 I listen to country music, but I&rsquo;m an odd country music fan because I didn&rsquo;t listen to it prior to 2001.</p> </blockquote> <p>September 11, the day the music died for our only declared presidential candidate and now the phoniest dude you'll run into at a country concert. This is going to be a wildly entertaining road to 2016.</p> <p><em><a href="http://www.slate.com/blogs/the_slatest/2015/03/24/ted_cruz_country_music_9_11_pandering_video.html?wpsrc=fol_tw" target="_blank">(h/t Slate</a></em>)</p></body></html> MoJo Video 2016 Elections Music Ted Cruz Tue, 24 Mar 2015 19:26:54 +0000 Inae Oh 272291 at http://www.motherjones.com Police: There Is "No Evidence" of Gang Rape Detailed in Rolling Stone's UVA Story http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/police-conclude-there-no-evidence-gang-rape-detailed-rolling-stones-uva-story <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>In a news conference on Monday, the Charlottesville Police Department announced it would suspend an investigation into the University of Virginia rape allegations first detailed in an explosive <a href="http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/features/a-rape-on-campus-20141119" target="_blank"><em>Rolling Stone</em> article</a> published last November. The police said they found <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/US/evidence-back-uva-fraternity-rape-allegations-police-investigation/story?id=29841952" target="_blank">"no evidence" </a>supporting the claims of the student <em>Rolling Stone </em>identified as Jackie.</p> <p>"I can't prove that something didn't happen, and there may come a point in time in which this survivor, or this complaining party or someone else, may come forward with some information that might help us move this investigation further," <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/24/us/police-to-release-results-of-uva-rape-inquiry.html" target="_blank">Police Chief Tim Longo told reporters</a>. He also stressed the inquiry was not permanently closed.</p> <p>According to Longo, Jackie did not cooperate with police officials, who conducted nearly 70 interviews, including speaking with Jackie's friends and members of UVA's Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. Jackie alleged her 2012 rape occurred in Phi Kappa Psi's fraternity house.</p> <p>The results of the investigation follow a turbulent four months for the magazine, after news outlets such as <em>Slate</em> and the <em>Washington Post </em>unearthed major errors compromising <em>Rolling Stone</em>'s story.<em> </em>The magazine acknowledged the discrepancies, saying it had "misplaced its trust" in Jackie.</p> <p>The story, however, fueled a <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/12/college-campus-rape-sexual-assault-stats-rolling-stone-uva" target="_blank">national conversation</a> over campus sexual assault. An independent investigation led by Columbia University's School of Journalism is expected to be released in the <a href="http://www.mediaite.com/print/columbia-to-release-review-of-rolling-stones-questionable-uva-rape-story/" target="_blank">coming weeks.</a></p></body></html> MoJo Crime and Justice Media Sex and Gender Mon, 23 Mar 2015 21:01:27 +0000 Inae Oh 272241 at http://www.motherjones.com The Boston Globe Really, Really Wants Elizabeth Warren to Run for President http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/boston-globe-really-really-wants-elizabeth-warren-run-president <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Sunday, the editorial board of the <em>Boston Globe</em> published a <a href="http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/editorials/2015/03/21/democrats-need-elizabeth-warren-voice-presidential-race/TJkJtbu3UYaJYBmVHcrAcI/story.html?wpisrc=nl_readin&amp;wpmm=1" target="_blank">four-part argument</a> urging Senator Elizabeth Warren to run against Hillary Clinton for the Democratic nomination for president. The editorial, which touted Warren's commitment to reducing income inequality, warned Democrats that allowing "Clinton [to] coast to the presidential nomination without real opposition" would be a big mistake.</p> <p>"Unlike Clinton, or any of the prospective Republican candidates, Warren has made closing the economic gaps in America her main political priority, in a career that has included standing up for homeowners facing illegal foreclosures and calling for more bankruptcy protections," the <em>Globe</em>'s editorial board argued. "If she runs, it&rsquo;ll ensure that those issues take their rightful place at the center of the national political debate."</p> <p>The paper went onto argue that even on issues, such as strengthening financial regulations, on which Clinton and Warren agree, it was difficult to imagine&nbsp;a "President Clinton enforcing the Dodd-Frank legislation with as much vigor as a President Warren" at a time when income inequality remains a high priority for many Americans.</p> <p>Although Warren has repeatedly said she is not interested in running for president, Sunday's editorial comes at somewhat of a vulnerable moment for Clinton, who's still dealing with the controversy surrounding her exclusive use of a personal email account while serving as secretary of state. Although the controversy doesn't appear to have damaged Clinton's popularity with top <a href="http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/10/us-usa-politics-clinton-donors-idUSKBN0M604820150310" target="_blank">Democratic donors</a>, it has further underscored the serious lack of viable challengers to her nomination.</p> <p>"Fairly or not, many Americans already view Clinton skeptically, and waltzing to the nomination may actually hurt her in the November election against the Republican nominee," the <em>Globe </em>argued.</p> <p>If Warren were to remain uninterested in a run, the editorial board said she should continue her efforts to reduce income inequality and "help recruit candidates" to advance her signature cause.</p> <p>To read the editorial in its entirety, visit the <a href="http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/editorials/2015/03/21/democrats-need-elizabeth-warren-voice-presidential-race/TJkJtbu3UYaJYBmVHcrAcI/story.html?wpisrc=nl_readin&amp;wpmm=1" target="_blank"><em>Boston Globe. </em></a></p> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Hillary Clinton Income Inequality Mon, 23 Mar 2015 16:47:53 +0000 Inae Oh 272201 at http://www.motherjones.com Ted Cruz's First Campaign Stop: the Birthplace of the "Clinton Body Count" http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/ted-cruz-liberty-university-falwell-clinton-bodycount <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="473" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/LihB7ZoGf4c?rel=0" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/03/ted-cruz-running-president" target="_blank">launched his presidential campaign</a> on Monday at Virginia's Liberty University, a private Christian college founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell. Liberty has become a mandatory stop for aspiring Republican candidates&mdash;and it's not just for the campus museum exhibit of the<a href="http://www.motherjones.com/road-trip-blog/2010/07/day-jerry-falwell-museum" target="_blank"> taxidermied bear that Falwell's father once wrestled</a>. Liberty is perhaps the premier academic institution of the religious right, and Cruz's choice of venue sends a clear message that he's trying to position himself in 2016 Republican field as a social conservative crusader&mdash;and that he's counting on evangelicals for support.</p> <p>But Liberty University and its controversial founder have additional significance to the 2016 presidential race. During the 1990s, the anti-gay pastor did more than anyone to popularize the so-called "<a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/06/hillary-clinton-conspiracy-theories" target="_blank">Clinton Body Count</a>"&mdash;the notion that Bill and Hillary Clinton had been responsible for dozens of murders during and after their time in Arkansas. This conspiracy theory was the centerpiece of a 1994 film called the <em>Clinton Chronicles</em>, which Falwell helped distribute to hundreds of thousands of conservatives across the country.</p> <p>Despite Falwell's best efforts, though, President Bill Clinton won his 1996 re-election campaign, and the episode helped reinforce the pastor's reputation as a bigoted crank. Republican candidates will find it hard to avoid Falwell's institution as the 2016 campaign heats up. We'll see if they've learned from his mistakes, too, when it comes to taking on the Clinton political machine.</p></body></html> MoJo 2016 Elections Ted Cruz Mon, 23 Mar 2015 15:29:49 +0000 Tim Murphy 272181 at http://www.motherjones.com "That Tree Is So Perfect For Lynching": NC State Frat Suspended Over Alleged Link to Outrageously Offensive Pledge Book http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/nc-state-university-frats-suspended <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><em>Update: The Associated Press <a href="http://bigstory.ap.org/article/fdc35f6e45634e268c91606c00dbcd39/2-fraternities-suspended-nc-state-amid-investigations" target="_blank">reports</a> that&nbsp;North Carolina State University</em><em>&nbsp;will temporarily ban alcohol from&nbsp;social events at more than 20 fraternities. The ban&nbsp;would not apply to historically black Greek organizations or the Multicultural Greek Council.&nbsp;&nbsp;</em></p> <p>Amid ire over&nbsp;<a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/news/grade-point/wp/2015/03/09/with-their-fraternity-closed-oklahoma-universitys-sigma-alpha-epsilon-members-move-out/" target="_blank">racist activity at the Sigma Alpha Episilon chapter</a> at Oklahoma University that led to its shut down, a pair of fraternities at North Carolina State University are under investigation this month&mdash;one for sexual assault and drug allegations, the other for its relationship to a book containing derogatory and racially charged language.&nbsp;</p> <p>On Thursday, according to a search warrant obtained by <em>The&nbsp;News &amp; Observer</em>, campus police seized <a href="http://www.newsobserver.com/news/local/crime/article15338534.html" target="_blank">drug paraphernalia, white powder and an orange liquid</a>&nbsp;at the Alpha Tau Omega house after a student, who had <a href="http://abc11.com/news/nc-state-fraternity-suspended-from-campus/564928/" target="_blank">also&nbsp;reported </a>she was sexually assaulted at the house, said she saw at least one of the fraternity's members dealing cocaine, ecstasy and LSD at the house. No arrests or charges have been made in connection to either the drug or sexual assault inquiries.</p> <p>The fraternity was suspended two days after the student filed the sexual assault complaint with campus police. Alpha Tau Omega CEO Wynn Smily <a href="http://abc11.com/news/nc-state-fraternity-suspended-from-campus/564928/" target="_blank">told </a>WTVD the drug paraphernalia belonged to a pledge and that he had been kicked out of the house. "It's devastating for the organization's reputation," Smiley said. "It's very unsettling and it's too bad this has all happened." He went on to accuse the alleged victim in the investigation of lying.&nbsp;</p> <p>"What she claims was happening in the chapter house was not happening. This woman's claims to police that she saw all kind of drug activity going on in the house, we believe that to be at best wildly exaggerated and in many cases, fabricated. Her credibility throughout this whole process has been certainly in question."</p> <p>Meanwhile, the discovery of an apparent pledge book linked to the Pi Kappa Phi chapter at NC State has led to a school probe. <a href="http://www.wral.com/nc-state-fraternity-placed-on-interim-suspension-after-embarrassing-scary-book-found/14526403/#6V98yxuypG7k63zm.99" target="_blank">WRAL reported</a> that the book, found at a restaurant near campus, contained disturbing racial and sexual commentary. Some of the handwritten comments included:&nbsp;</p> <p>"It will be short and painful, just like when I rape you."</p> <p>"If she's hot enough, she doesn't need a pulse."</p> <p>"That tree is so perfect for lynching."&nbsp;</p> <p>The chapter has been temporarily suspended as a result of the inquiry. In a statement on the&nbsp;fraternity's national website, CEO Mark Timmes <a href="http://www.pikapp.org/contentnomenu.aspx?id=5454" target="_blank">said</a> it would cooperate with the school's investigation. "The written comments and quotes reported earlier this evening are offensive and unacceptable. These statements are inconsistent with the values of Pi Kappa Phi and will not be tolerated."</p> <p>The investigations follow a&nbsp;string of behavioral misconduct at fraternities&nbsp;across the country. The Kappa Delta Rho fraternity at Penn State University was suspended for a year on Tuesday after a former member told police about two&nbsp;private Facebook pages in which members shared photos of nude and partially nude women, drug sales and hazing,&nbsp;according to a probable cause affidavit&nbsp;<a href="http://www.philly.com/philly/news/20150318_PSU_frat_suspended_for_secret__nude_Facebook_page.html" target="_blank">obtained by <em>The Philadelphia Inquirer</em></a>. The pages included photos of nude and partially nude women, some of whom appeared asleep or&nbsp;passed out.&nbsp;The fraternity <a href="http://www.philly.com/philly/news/local/20150319_PSU_brothers_could_face__revenge_porn__charges.html" target="_blank">could face criminal charges</a> under the state's&nbsp;"revenge porn" law that went into effect in September.&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Race and Ethnicity Sex and Gender Fri, 20 Mar 2015 19:36:41 +0000 Edwin Rios 272136 at http://www.motherjones.com After Mother Jones Report, University of Arkansas Pulls Diary Critical of the Clintons http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/university-arkansas-pulls-bumpers-diary-clinton <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>On Tuesday, I <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/03/dale-bumpers-bill-hillary-clinton-diary" target="_blank">reported</a> on the newly public diary of retired Sen. Dale Bumpers (D-Ark.), the longtime Clinton ally, which is included in the 89-year-old's personal papers at the University of Arkansas. In entries penned during the 1980s, Bumpers was highly critical of the Clintons, dishing on the future First Couple's "obsessive" qualities and alleged "dirty tricks" by Bill Clinton's gubernatorial campaign. Bumpers, who gave the closing argument for the defense in President Clinton's impeachment trial, became a close friend and confidante of the president later in his career. But the previously unreported entries revealed a more tense relationship in the early going, as Clinton vied for political elbow room with the Democratic icon.</p> <p>In response to the <em>Mother Jones</em> piece, the University of Arkansas library has pulled the diary from its collection at the request of Bumpers' son, Brent. Per the <a href="http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2015/mar/20/ua-says-deed-of-gift-for-bumpers-papers/" target="_blank"><em>Arkansas Democrat&ndash;Gazette</em></a>:</p> <blockquote> <p>Brent Bumpers of Little Rock, son of the former senator, said he was "shocked" by the diary. He has questioned its origin and authenticity, saying nobody in the family had ever heard anything about Dale Bumpers keeping a dairy.</p> <p>Brent Bumpers said his father, who is 89 years old, doesn't remember keeping a diary. He said Dale Bumpers always admired the Clintons and wouldn't have written the things the diary contains.</p> <p>Brent Bumpers said he wants to review the diary, but he won't have the opportunity for several days.</p> <p>Although Dale Bumpers hasn't personally requested that the diary be pulled, Laura Jacobs, UA associate vice chancellor for university relations, said Brent Bumpers is speaking and acting on behalf of his father regarding the Dale Bumpers Papers.</p> </blockquote> <p>But the Bumpers diary could not have been written by anyone but Dale Bumpers. When not commenting on the various politicians he interacted with, it is filled with personal musings on his wife, Betty, and three kids; the strains of the job; can't-miss events such as the annual Bradley County Pink Tomato Festival; and the trials of a first-time candidate at an Iowa presidential cattle call&mdash;all interspersed with the thoughtful reflections of a lawmaker who was generally regarded as such.</p> <p>This is the second time in the last year that the University of Arkansas has made news by restricting access to a political archive in its special collections. Last year, the university's library <a href="http://freebeacon.com/politics/clinton-donor-bans-free-beacon-from-university-of-arkansas-archives/" target="_blank">blocked</a> the <em>Washington Free Beacon</em>, a conservative news outlet, from accessing its collections because of a dispute over publishing rights. (The library ultimately <a href="http://freebeacon.com/issues/unconditional-surrender/" target="_blank">backed down</a>.)</p> <p>With Hillary Clinton and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush both running for president, reporters (and opposition researchers) will have more access to archival records than perhaps ever before. The two candidates have nearly a century of public life between them; that's a heck of a paper trail. This may not be the last time a little-noticed archive makes news.</p></body></html> MoJo Elections Fri, 20 Mar 2015 19:19:39 +0000 Tim Murphy 272141 at http://www.motherjones.com This Declassified CIA Report Shows the Shaky Case for the Iraq War http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/cia-iraq-bush-wmd-report <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>The United States began its invasion of Iraq 12 years ago. Yesterday, a previously classified Central Intelligence Agency report containing supposed proof of the country's weapons of mass destruction was published by Jason Leopold of <em><a href="https://news.vice.com/article/the-cia-just-declassified-the-document-that-supposedly-justified-the-iraq-invasion" target="_blank">Vice News</a></em>.<strong> </strong>Put together nine months before the start of the war, the National Intelligence Estimate spells out what the CIA knew about Iraq's ability to produce biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons. It would become the backbone of the Bush administration's <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2011/12/leadup-iraq-war-timeline" target="_blank">mistaken assertions</a> that Saddam Hussein possessed WMDs and posed a direct threat to the post-9/11 world.</p> <p>The report is rife with what now are obvious red flags that the Bush White House oversold the case for war. It asserts that Iraq had an active chemical weapons program at one point, though it admits that the CIA had found no evidence of the program's continuation. It repeatedly includes caveats like "credible evidence is limited." It gives little space to the doubts of the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research, which found the CIA's findings on Iraq's nuclear program unconvincing and "at best ambiguous."</p> <p>This isn't the first time the report's been released in full: A version was made public in 2004, but nearly all the <a href="http://www2.gwu.edu/~nsarchiv/NSAEBB/NSAEBB129/" target="_blank">text was redacted</a>. Last year, transparency advocate <a href="http://www.theblackvault.com/" target="_blank">John Greenwald</a> successfully petitioned the CIA for a more complete version. Greenwald shared the document with Leopold.</p> <p>Here's the full report:</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="DV-container" id="DV-viewer-1689902-cia-2002-iraq-report">&nbsp;</div> <script src="//s3.amazonaws.com/s3.documentcloud.org/viewer/loader.js"></script><script> DV.load("//www.documentcloud.org/documents/1689902-cia-2002-iraq-report.js", { width: 630, height: 450, sidebar: false, text: false, container: "#DV-viewer-1689902-cia-2002-iraq-report" }); </script><noscript> <a href="http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1689902/cia-2002-iraq-report.pdf">CIA 2002 Iraq Report (PDF)</a> <br><a href="http://s3.documentcloud.org/documents/1689902/cia-2002-iraq-report.txt">CIA 2002 Iraq Report (Text)</a> </noscript></body></html> MoJo Foreign Policy Iraq Military Fri, 20 Mar 2015 17:31:54 +0000 Julia Lurie 272106 at http://www.motherjones.com Facebook Is Being Sued for Gender and Racial Discrimination. Here's Why. http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/facebook-being-sued-gender-and-racial-discrimination <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>In a lawsuit filed against Facebook on Monday, former employee Chia Hong accused the company of gender discrimination, racial discrimination, and sex harassment.<a href="#correction">*</a> She is represented by Lawless &amp; Lawless, the same law firm representing Ellen Pao in the high-profile <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/media/2015/03/here-are-some-ridiculous-things-weve-learned-about-silicon-valley-ellen-pao-trial" target="_blank">gender discrimination case</a> against venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins. (And yes, Lawless really is the last name of the two sisters who head the firm.)</p> <p>Hong, who worked as a product manager at Facebook until October 2013, alleges that she suffered from discrimination by her boss, Anil Wilson, and dozens of other coworkers during her three years at the company. She also claims that she was wrongfully terminated after complaining about the harassment and discrimination.</p> <p>The <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/documents/1689552-259169039-chia-hong-vs-facebook" target="_blank">complaint</a> states that Facebook employment policies were "neutral on their face" but "resulted in a disparate impact" on Hong, due to her gender:</p> <blockquote> <p>The harassment included, but was not limited to, ANIL WILSON regularly ignoring or belittling plaintiff's professional opinions and input at group meetings in which she was the only woman or one of very few; asking plaintiff why she did not just stay home and take care of her child instead of having a career; admonishing plaintiff for taking one personal day per month to volunteer at her child' s school, which was permitted under company policy; ordering plaintiff to organize parties and serve drinks to male colleagues, which was not a part of plaintiff's job description and not something that was requested of males with whom she worked; and telling plaintiff he had heard she was an "order taker," by which he meant that she did not exercise independent discretion in the execution of her job duties.</p> </blockquote> <p>It also alleges racial discrimination against her:</p> <blockquote> <p>The discrimination included, but was not limited to, plaintiff having her professional opinions belittled or ignored at group meetings in which she was one of the only employees of Chinese descent; plaintiff being told that she was not integrated into the team because she looks different and talks differently than other team members, and plaintiff being replaced by a less qualified, less experienced Indian male.</p> </blockquote> <p>This latest case comes as various Silicon Valley companies are struggling to diversify their conspicuously <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/media/2014/05/google-diversity-labor-gender-race-gap-workers-silicon-valley" target="_blank">white, male workforces</a>. According to a <a href="http://newsroom.fb.com/news/2014/06/building-a-more-diverse-facebook/" target="_blank">report</a> issued by Facebook last June, 69 percent of its employees are male&mdash;including 77 percent among senior staff and 85 percent among its tech workers. The report also found that Facebook's overall workforce was 57 percent white and 34 percent Asian.</p> <p>In a statement to <a href="http://techcrunch.com/2015/03/18/facebook-sued-by-former-staffer-alleging-sex-discrimination-harassment-other-charges/#qb74Oe:Jvnu" target="_blank">TechCrunch</a> on Wednesday about the lawsuit, a Facebook spokesperson refuted Hong's allegations: "We work extremely hard on issues related to diversity, gender and equality, and we believe we&rsquo;ve made progress. In this case we have substantive disagreements on the facts, and we believe the record shows the employee was treated fairly."</p> <p id="correction"><em>Correction: The initial version of this post misstated the allegation as "sexual harassment."</em></p></body></html> MoJo Race and Ethnicity Sex and Gender Tech Thu, 19 Mar 2015 19:59:40 +0000 Julia Lurie 272076 at http://www.motherjones.com UVA Student's Violent Arrest Sparks Outrage and Calls for #JusticeForMartese http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/martese-johnson-uva <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Images and footage capturing the arrest of Martese Johnson, a University of Virginia student <a href="http://www.cavalierdaily.com/article/2015/03/university-student-honor-committee-member-martese-johnson-arrested" target="_blank">who needed 10 stitches</a> after being arrested by state liquor police for allegedly having a fake ID, prompted large protests at UVA's Charlottesville campus on Wednesday, with hundreds of students gathering to demand justice.</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>UVa looking so powerful <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/JusticeForMartese?src=hash">#JusticeForMartese</a> <a href="http://t.co/rGj0JLpplp">pic.twitter.com/rGj0JLpplp</a></p> &mdash; Sophie Abramowitz (@NewSoftShoe) <a href="https://twitter.com/NewSoftShoe/status/578349861805764608">March 19, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <p>Johnson, 20-years-old and a member of the school's Honor Committee, <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/bloody-arrest-university-virginia-student-prompts-police-review-n326226" target="_blank">was arrested on Tuesday</a> by officers from the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control as bystanders recorded the bloody encounter. In one video, Johnson's head appears covered in blood, and he screams "you fucking racists." According to Johnson's lawyer, he was <a href="http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2015/03/18/3635934/university-virigina-honor-student-brutally-beaten-cops-allegedly-fake-id/" target="_blank">charged</a> with "obstructing justice without force" and public intoxication.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="354" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/0faIzE0TSJA" width="630"></iframe></p> <p>After footage of the arrest emerged online, Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe launched an investigation into the incident.</p> <p>"Governor McAuliffe is concerned by the reports of this incident and has asked the Secretary of Public Safety to initiate an independent Virginia State Police investigation into the use of force in this matter," his office said in a<a href="http://www.buzzfeed.com/salvadorhernandez/university-of-virginia-martese-johnson-arrest#.oi7oe63M" target="_blank"> statement.</a></p> <p>It is unclear what led to the arrest. A statement from the state's liquor agents <a href="http://www.nbc12.com/story/28557455/mike-martese-rally" target="_blank">said</a> that "a determination was made by the agents to further detain the individual based on their observations and further questioning." On Wednesday night, Johnson joined the demonstrators and appeared with a gash wound to the head.</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>Photos from protest at <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/UVa?src=hash">#UVa</a> in response to <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MarteseJohnson?src=hash">#</a><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MarteseJohnson?src=hash">MarteseJohnson</a>'s injuries from ABC arrest <a href="http://t.co/i6XFYmlsz0">http://t.co/i6XFYmlsz0</a> <a href="http://t.co/rXCJX33Et1">pic.twitter.com/rXCJX33Et1</a></p> &mdash; Amy Friedenberger (@AJFriedenberger) <a href="https://twitter.com/AJFriedenberger/status/578401590945521664">March 19, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <p>"His head was slammed into the hard pavement with excessive force," UVA officials said in a <a href="http://president.virginia.edu/speeches-writings/important-message-marcus-l-martin-and-maurice-apprey" target="_blank">released statement.</a> "This was wrong and should not have occurred. In the many years of our medical, professional and leadership roles at the University, we view the nature of this assault as highly unusual and appalling based on the information we have received."</p> <center> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>Absolutely no excuse to justify what's seen in this photo <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/JusticeForMartese?src=hash">#JusticeForMartese</a> <a href="http://t.co/qesz2st4eZ">pic.twitter.com/qesz2st4eZ</a></p> &mdash; Jarmere Jenkins (@JarmereJenkins) <a href="https://twitter.com/JarmereJenkins/status/578257261237264384">March 18, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script><blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"> <p>IT DOESNT MATTER IF YOURE SAGGIN' OR WEARING A TIE. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/JusticeForMartese?src=hash">#JusticeForMartese</a> <a href="http://t.co/w1kEZhqcGk">pic.twitter.com/w1kEZhqcGk</a></p> &mdash; Tyree Boyd-Pates (@TyreeBP) <a href="https://twitter.com/TyreeBP/status/578419714809970688">March 19, 2015</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script></center> <p>As images of both the protest and Johnson's arrest flooded online with the hashtag #JusticeForMartese, demonstrators <a href="http://www.nbc12.com/story/28557462/kelly-martese" target="_blank">chanted</a> "black lives matter" and "shut it down."</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="true" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="360" mozallowfullscreen="true" scrolling="no" src="http://news.yahoo.com/video/governor-launches-investigation-uva-student-132057989.html?format=embed" webkitallowfullscreen="true" width="640"></iframe></p></body></html> MoJo Video Race and Ethnicity Thu, 19 Mar 2015 15:06:09 +0000 Inae Oh 272061 at http://www.motherjones.com Even Life Insurance Actuaries Are Coming Around on Pot http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/american-actuaries-pot-legalization <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>A copy of <em>Contingencies</em>&mdash;the official magazine of the American Academy of Actuaries&mdash;came in the mail on Monday. I don't know why&mdash;I'm not an actuary; I'm not even in a celebrity death pool. But there's some interesting stuff in there. AAA president Mary D. Miller, in a column titled "It Takes an Actuary," boasts that "our world will be more vital than ever" in the era of drones and Big Data, as people find more and more innovative ways to die; the puzzle columnist is retiring.</p> <p>But I was mostly struck <a href="http://www.contingenciesonline.com/contingenciesonline/20150304#pg22" target="_blank">by the cover story</a>:</p> <div class="inline inline-center" style="display: table; width: 1%"><img alt="" class="image" src="/files/contingencies_0.jpg"><div class="caption"><strong>Contingencies! </strong>Tim Murphy</div> </div> <p>Weed!</p> <p>With the legalization movement racking up victory after victory, the writer, Hank George, seeks to correct a misunderstanding among his actuarial colleagues&mdash;that marijuana "conferred the same relative mortality risk as cigarette smoking." To the contrary, he writes, "recreational marijuana users enjoy better physical fitness and get more exercise than nonusers" and "have even been shown to have higher IQs." He concludes: "The tide is turning&mdash;life underwriters would be wise to be at the front end of this curve, and not stubbornly digging in their heels to the detriment of their products."</p> <p>For now, at least, life insurers are still holding the line on pot smoke as a vice on par with cigarettes. But it's a testament to how far the legalization movement has grown beyond its hippie roots that even the actuaries are starting to fall in line.</p></body></html> MoJo Health Care Marijuana Regulatory Affairs Top Stories Wed, 18 Mar 2015 16:48:47 +0000 Tim Murphy 271911 at http://www.motherjones.com Obama Just Officially Decided White House Emails Aren't Subject to the Freedom of Information Act http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/white-house-officially-decided-its-emails-arent-subject-foia-regulations <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>Civil liberties advocates are adding another strike to the Obama administration's record on transparency: on Monday, <a href="http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2015/03/16/white-house-foia-regulations-deleted/24844253/" target="_blank">the White House announced</a> that it is officially ending the Freedom of Information Act obligations of its Office of Administration. That office provides broad administrative support to the White House&mdash;including the archiving of emails&mdash;and had been subject to FOIA for much of its nearly four-decade history.</p> <p>In 2007, the <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2009/05/watchdogs-obama-reverse-bush-decision-shielding-missing-emails-docs-disclosure" target="_blank">George W. Bush administration decided</a> that its OA would reject any FOIA requests, freeing it from the burden to release emails regarding any number of Bush-era scandals. When President Obama took office in 2009, transparency advocates were hopeful that he'd strike down the Bush policy&mdash;especially after he claimed transparency would be a "touchstone" of his presidency. <a href="http://www.citizensforethics.org/page/-/PDFs/Legal/Letters/Group_Letter_to_Craig_OA_Status_20090514.pdf?nocdn=1" target="_blank">In a letter that year</a>, advocates from dozens of organizations urged Obama to restore transparency to the OA.</p> <p>He never did, and Monday's move from the White House makes the long-standing policy official. Coincidentally, March 16th was Freedom of Information Day, and this week marks the annual <a href="http://www.sunshineweek.org/" target="_blank">Sunshine Week</a>, which focuses on open government.&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Civil Liberties Obama Top Stories Tue, 17 Mar 2015 17:14:58 +0000 Sam Brodey 271921 at http://www.motherjones.com If You Own a Pitchfork, You Will Grab It When You See This Chart http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/income-inequality-chart-wall-street-bonuses-minimum-wage <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p>This statistic provides a pretty compelling snapshot of the severity of our income gap: In 2014, Wall Street's bonus pool was roughly double the combined earnings of all Americans working full-time jobs at minimum wage.&nbsp;</p> <p>That sobering tidbit came from a new Institute for&nbsp;Policy Studies <a href="http://www.ips-dc.org/deep-end-wall-street/" target="_blank">report</a> by&nbsp;Sarah Anderson, who looked at new figures from the New York State Comptroller and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The average bonus for one of&nbsp;New York City's 167,800 employees in the securities industry came out to $172,860&mdash;on top of an average salary of nearly $200,000. On the other side of the equation were about one million people working full time at the federal minimum wage of&nbsp;$7.25.&nbsp;</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen" allowtransparency="true" frameborder="0" height="450" mozallowfullscreen="mozallowfullscreen" msallowfullscreen="msallowfullscreen" oallowfullscreen="oallowfullscreen" src="//mjdwcharts.s3.amazonaws.com/Qgon6/3/index.html" webkitallowfullscreen="webkitallowfullscreen" width="100%"></iframe></p> <p>In a recent <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2015/03/14/upshot/wall-street-bonuses-vs-total-earnings-of-full-time-minimum-wage-workers.html?_r=0" target="_blank"><em>New York Times</em></a> article, Justin Wolfers, a senior fellow for&nbsp;the Peterson Institute for International Economics, picked apart some of the uncertainties that go into creating such a calculation, and ultimately came up with a similar result:</p> <blockquote> <p>The count of workers at federal minimum wage includes only those who are paid hourly, and so omits those paid weekly or monthly. On the flip side, the B.L.S. count is based on income before tips and commissions, and so may overstate the number of people with low hourly earnings. And while my calculation assumed that all minimum wage workers earn $7.25 per hour, in fact many earn less than this, including wait staff and others who rely on tips, some students and young workers, certain farmworkers, and those whose bosses simply flout the minimum wage law.</p> <p>For all of these uncertainties, the broad picture doesn&rsquo;t change. My judgment is that we can be pretty confident that Ms. Anderson's estimate that the sum of Wall Street bonuses is roughly twice the total amount paid to all full-time workers paid minimum wage seems like a fair characterization.</p> </blockquote></body></html> MoJo Corporations Economy Income Inequality Mon, 16 Mar 2015 19:50:13 +0000 Julia Lurie 271831 at http://www.motherjones.com This Man Is Missing a Chunk of His Brain. The Missouri Supreme Court Says It's Okay to Execute Him. http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/03/missouri-supreme-court-rules-mentally-ill-man-fit-execution <!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html40/loose.dtd"> <html><body><p><em>Update: <a href="http://www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/missouri-executes-cecil-clayton-missing-part-brain-n325081" target="_blank">Cecil Clayton was executed</a> at 9:21 p.m. Central time on Tuesday, March 17. </em></p> <p>Cecil Clayton, a <a href="http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2015/03/missouri-man-missing-parts-his-brain-might-get-put-death" target="_blank">mentally ill Missouri man facing execution on Tuesday</a>, was denied a crucial avenue to clemency this weekend: The Missouri Supreme Court ruled that Clayton is competent to be executed. But he's missing one-fifth of his frontal lobe.</p> <p>Clayton, 74, was sentenced to death in 1997 for murdering a police officer. Twenty-five years before that,&nbsp;he suffered a horrific accident that caused the removal of significant parts of his brain, transforming his brain chemistry and personality. His lawyers are aiming to secure him a stay of execution and a hearing to evaluate his competency to be executed, but Missouri law makes it highly difficult to do so after the&nbsp;trial.</p> <p>In a 4-3 decision, the state's highest court found that Clayton's lawyers had not presented a sufficiently compelling case for the state to delay his execution and hold a hearing to evaluate his competency. <a href="http://www.kmbc.com/news/missouri-supreme-court-wont-block-execution-of-deputys-killer/31808994" target="_blank">The majority argued</a> that though Clayton suffers from debilitating dementia, paranoia, schizophrenia, and a host of other conditions, "there is no evidence that he is not capable of understanding 'matters in extenuation, arguments for executive clemency, or reasons why the sentence should not be carried out.'"</p> <p><a href="http://www.motherjones.com/documents/1687388-missouri-supreme-court-clayton-dissent" target="_blank">In their dissent</a>, the three judges in the minority&nbsp;wrote that Clayton's lawyers presented reasonable grounds that his "mental condition has deteriorated and he is intellectually disabled." They noted that he is "incompetent to be executed and&hellip;is entitled to a hearing at which his competence will be determined." And they contended that the "majority's decision to proceed with the execution at this time and in these circumstances violates the Eighth Amendment ban on cruel and unusual punishment."&nbsp;</p> <p>A few options remain for Clayton. On Monday, Clayton's lawyers filed a petition to the US Supreme Court to stay the execution. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon (D) also can stay the execution and order a competency hearing. Clayton is scheduled to be put to death by lethal injection&mdash;a method his attorneys claim could cause him a "prolonged and excruciating" death&mdash;at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p></body></html> MoJo Civil Liberties Crime and Justice Top Stories death penalty Mon, 16 Mar 2015 18:26:30 +0000 Sam Brodey 271871 at http://www.motherjones.com